Maker Birthdays: Stewart Brand


Stewart Brand changed my life. Several times. When I was 16 years old, I got a copy of the Whole Earth Catalog and I was never the same. Through it, I discovered Buckminster Fuller, Gregory Bateson, whole systems thinking, nomadics, and the general, revolutionary notion (now commonplace in our wired info-age) that an individual could do just about anything if he or she had access to the right information and tools. It was also through the quarterly Whole Earth Review that I discovered Mark Tilden and BEAM robotics and even zines and mail art, all things that became important parts of my life. The Space Colonies book got me heavily into the L5 Society and commercial space development for a few years. And then it was through Brand’s Whole Earth Software Catalog and short-lived Whole Earth Software Review that I fell in love with computers and decided I needed one. Stat. Armed with said computer, The WELL BBS was my launching pad into cyberspace and my writing career. And early on in that career, I actually got to write for the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog and Whole Earth Review, a dream come true for me. It’s hard to imagine any one person having more of an effect on the maker in me or maker culture in general.

Happy Birthday, Stewart!

Stewart Brand on Wikipedia

4 thoughts on “Maker Birthdays: Stewart Brand

  1. I keep a copy of the Last Whole Earth Catalog in my cubicle at work to remind myself that there’s more to life than working through test cases and filling out bug reports.

    And loooking at the shelf, there’s a copy of MAKE #5 next to it . . .

  2. I still have my original, very shabby and yellowed copy of the 1971 edition of the WEC (and most all of the ones after it).

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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